Authors: John Lyman
Leo was beginning to feel a growing sense of dread as he studied the faded image. “How is this possible?”
“Remember where you’re standing, Leo,” Morelli said. “Nothing about this chapel surprises me anymore.” He motioned the men forward. “There’s more.”
Moving a few steps further down the wall, he pointed to a different section. There, at eye level and still partially covered with dirt, was the painted image of a golden stalk of wheat. Two painted lines led down and away in opposite directions to join with two other painted images of stalks of wheat. Then, below the strange images of wheat, was another image—the unmistakable image of a man. Once again, two descending diagonal lines pointed in opposite directions to two more man-like images. Then, below all of the images there were three words written in Latin—
triticum idem vir.
“I’m afraid I’m not as proficient in Latin as you gentlemen are,” Lev said.
Pope Michael folded his arms and stared at the words.
“Basically, it says ...
wheat same as man
“What in heaven’s name does that mean?” Leo scratched the hair under his red skull cap.
“I have no idea,” the pope said, “but since one of the world’s largest cities has just suffered a biological attack, and we’ve all just seen a modern biohazard symbol painted on a chapel wall that’s been covered over for two thousand years, then I think it’s pretty obvious that there’s some kind of connection.”
Lev stepped back and snapped a few pictures of the paintings on the wall with his cell phone. “I’ll send these to Daniel in Israel as soon as we get back upstairs. Since we’ve already found several references to this chapel encoded within the Old Testament, these images may help him when he begins a search for new encoded messages in the Bible.” Lev paused as he inhaled the musty scent of the catacombs. “I have a feeling these images were left here for us as a warning.”
All four men sat staring down at the red Persian carpet in the pope’s study. With the grace of the track star he had once been, Pope Michael rose from behind his heavy wooden desk and walked around the room, refilling everyone’s wineglass before returning to his seat.
Reclining in his chair, he studied the faces of his guests as they sipped their wine in contemplative silence, each trying to draw some meaning from the images they had just seen on a wall that had been buried for two thousand years.
The pope wanted to hear from Lev Wasserman first. “Professor, I must confess that I am at a total loss as to how you and your team utilize this Bible code of yours to uncover future events. I mean, if it is really all that you say it is, then why didn’t one of your cryptographers find some kind of warning about the virus that struck New York?”
“Well, with all due respect, Your Holiness, the code is not mine. It belongs to the world as a true message from God ... I am only one of its discoverers. Unfortunately, many people have made the mistake of assuming that the code is prophetic in the literal sense. It is not.”
Listening to the discussion, Morelli glanced down at the pope’s coffee table and noticed that someone had added a newly-released book on the Bible Code to his daily stack of reading material.
The pope smiled. “It’s obvious, Professor, that I still have a lot to learn about the subject. The world is changing so quickly and there is so much information to process, that I am forced to rely on others to obtain and analyze a lot of the information I need to make decisions for the Church. The rest I leave to God’s providence.”
Lev managed a tired grin. His actual face-time with the pope over the past year probably amounted to no more than a total of thirty minutes. Now, as he was becoming better acquainted with him, he was starting to see that this pope was not only a very special individual, but somewhat of a regular guy in the company of men.
“I’ve heard much about it, of course,” the pope continued, “but up until now the bulk of my information has been anecdotal, so for the most part, this supposed code within the Old Testament remains a total mystery to me. Would you be so kind as to enlighten an old Jesuit?”
“It would be my pleasure, Your Holiness. The discovery of the code in the Torah has been replicated in the United States by several senior cryptographers at the National Security Administration, using their most powerful computers. Its validity has not only passed academic peer review, as mentioned in several leading scientific journals, but has come under close scrutiny by many world renowned mathematicians who’ve been working independently at some very prestigious universities, both in America and here in Europe. To date, all of those who have set out to disprove the fact that the code exists have discovered just the opposite. Also, as you know, the code was instrumental in leading us to the discoveries we made last year, both here in Rome and in the Negev Desert.”
“Yes, most impressive, Professor, but I have to tell you that some of my most trusted advisors believe that the whole concept of a code embedded within our most sacred text seems almost heretical. What led you to the belief that there was a code in the Bible in the first place?”
“I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way your advisors do when they first hear about some kind of code being embedded within the Bible. But I also believe most people who’ve heard of it haven’t taken the time to learn all of the facts or take into account the most beautiful fact of all ... that God is real and is now proving His existence to an increasingly secular and cynical world using an ancient code so complex that it takes modern computers to unravel it. Our team has come to believe that there’s another Bible within the Bible. It’s like a massive puzzle in layers, similar to a three-dimensional hologram. Some believe that the Bible itself is a computer program left to us by the Almighty, and there are an infinite number of encoded messages yet to be discovered. Even with all of our computers and code-breaking programs today, no one could have encoded the Bible the way it was done over three-thousand years ago.”
The pope continued to probe. “I have to admit that I’ve become fascinated by the subject, Professor, but I’d still like to know how you came to discover it.”
“Like most historical discoveries, I stumbled upon it by chance. Several years ago I was reading about the
Genius of Vilna
, an eighteenth-century Jewish sage in Lithuania who predicted 9/11 to the day and spoke about the possibility of a code being embedded within the Bible. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and learned that, throughout history, many Bible scholars had been trying to prove that there was a secret code in the Old Testament.”
“I’ve heard that Sir Isaac Newton believed there was a hidden code in the Bible that would reveal the future.”
“I see you’ve been doing your homework, Your Holiness. Most people have no idea that the father of modern physics believed there was a code in the Bible, and that he was obsessed with finding it.” Lev looked up to see the pope’s startling blue eyes staring at him with a piercing gaze, a trait that was slightly unnerving to people when they first met him.
Lev cleared his throat and continued. “Newton’s biographer discovered his obsession with the code when he went through his papers at Cambridge. Newton even learned Hebrew and spent most of his life in a fruitless attempt trying to find it. Apparently, he focused specifically on the Torah ... the first five books of the Old Testament. As it turns out, Newton was on to something, because unlike the other books of scripture, the first five books of the Bible were dictated directly by God to Moses in an exact letter-by-letter sequence with strict instructions never to change or alter the sequence of any word, letter, or space.”
The pope stroked his chin and gazed toward the open window. “I don’t remember exactly where it was written, but there is an ancient warning about the Torah. It warned that if a single letter was added or omitted from the Torah, the whole universe would be destroyed.”
“Yes,” Lev continued. “It was a warning to the scribes. Every copy of the Torah since the days of Moses has been copied by hand from its predecessor along with a warning to every new scribe to copy it exactly as it was given to Moses. That’s also the reason the code only exists in Hebrew, because that was the original language of the Bible as it was first written. Translating it into another language would have altered the code, thus rendering it useless.”
Lev could tell by the look on the pope’s face that he was still waiting to hear how he and his team had come to discover something that had remained hidden for so long to so many brilliant thinkers throughout history.
“Evidently, Your Holiness, sixty years ago a rabbi from Eastern Europe, who coincidentally just happened to be a mathematician and fan of Newton, noticed in Genesis that if he skipped fifty letters, then another fifty and then another fifty, the word Torah was spelled out in the beginning of the book. He then used that same skip sequence again and spelled out the word Torah in the Book of Exodus. To his amazement, the word Torah was also embedded at the beginnings of the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. After this surprising discovery, he wrote a paper claiming that Newton was right all along ... that the Bible contained some kind of code, but he was never able to unravel the enormity of what he had discovered. That was as far as he got.”
“Nothing. For sixty years this information lay on a dusty shelf at the university until one of my research assistants brought it to my attention. After seeing what this rabbi had stumbled upon, we realized that both he and Newton lacked the one tool that could have helped them unravel the code ... a computer. We quickly enlisted the help of several of our colleagues at the University of Jerusalem, and within a few months we had developed a computer program that allowed us to scan literally millions of skip sequences in the Torah to see if we could find any meaningful words or groups of words embedded within the text.”
Lev paused to take a sip of wine as Pope Michael’s eyes narrowed in anticipation.
“Exactly what did you and your team find?”
“We began to see words grouped together on the same page ... words and phrases that mentioned historical events that occurred thousands of years after the Bible was written. Both World Wars, the Holocaust, men landing on the moon and the exact date they landed ... the horrific events of 9/11, the exact date of the collision of the Shoemaker-Levi comet with Jupiter, the Gulf War, the dates and locations of the assassinations of President Kennedy, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The names of their assassins were spelled out next to theirs, plus much, much more. The things we were finding sent chills up our spines ... we all saw the hand of God at work.”
“So, what you’re saying is that this discovery wouldn’t have been possible until now, at this exact point in history ... at a time that coincided with the invention of the computer.”
“Exactly. That’s the reason why even a genius like Newton was unable to find any evidence of it. The number of combinations and permutations were just too vast, even for a man of his superior intellect.”
“How much information is there?”
“All of our past and all of our future. The name of every person who has lived before us, who is living now, and who is yet to be born. All of our greatest historical events, plagues, disasters, wars, and future wars ... all are encoded in the Bible. There’s no limit to the amount of encoded information the Bible contains.”
“But how is that possible? Are you saying we’re looking at an intelligence that encoded our past, present, and future almost three-thousand years ago using a mathematical model we’re unable to grasp even today?”
“Yes, Your Holiness ... and being a man of faith, I’m convinced that intelligence is God. He has given us proof with a modern twist that He exists. He’s sending us a message! Try to think of the Bible as a cryptogram sent to us by God Himself ... a cryptogram with a series of time locks that could not be opened until certain events had come to pass. One of these events is the return of the Jews to their homeland after the great Diaspora that lasted almost two-thousand years. The other key is one you just mentioned ... the invention of the modern computer. This one leap in technology has finally given scientists and cryptographers the ability to prove what Newton and others believed was there all along. I mean, just think of it. Three-thousand years ago, a code that would be considered complex even by today’s standards was embedded within the Bible, and whoever put it there knew our future. That last part brings up your point about predictions, Your Holiness.”
“How so, Professor?”
“Even though the future is encoded within the Old Testament, I believe the true purpose of the code is to authenticate the Bible as a book of divine and supernatural origin. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that one day the world would progress to the intellectual point where we would begin to question His existence. How do you convince an enlightened and cynical society that has progressed to our current level of knowledge that God exists? In the modern world, some of our intellectual elite have begun to equate God with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.”